Online Program

Characterizing complementary and alternative medicine practices to identify opportunities for health promotion

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lysbeth Floden, MPH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Eva Matthews, MPH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Lubna Govindarajan, MPH, Western Region Public Health Training Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, Family & Community Medicine College of Medicine Professor, Public Health Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Introduction: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners are an important part of US healthcare, and well-positioned to address chronic disease risk factors and promote evidence-informed/guideline-based treatments within the context of patient/client care and scope of practice. An understanding of CAM practice organization and patterns is critical to identify appropriate opportunities for practice-based public health research and programs. This presentation will present data from a survey of CAM practices and discuss implications and strategies for public health research and practice. Methods: Cross sectional telephone survey of acupuncturists (Ac's), massage therapists(MT's) and chiropractors in a southwestern metro area, querying practice characteristics, organization and patient/client flow. The DC survey will be completed in February 2013. Results: Most Ac's (80.6%) and MT's (59.1%) have one practice location. The majority of Ac's practices (70.1%) were solo, while MTs practices were more evenly split between solo (53.3%) and group practices (46.7%). A minority of Ac's (17.2%) and MT's (27.9%) practices were home-based. Locations with >1 practitioner tended to include other CAM and non-CAM practitioner types. Practice business models were heterogeneous, e.g. sole proprietor, employee, partner, independent contractor. Patient/Client volume was highly variable: (Ac's μ=9.83, σ=8.58 patients/week; MTs μ=9.83, σ=8.58 clients/week), with few new patients/clients per week (Ac's μ=2.61, σ=4.54; MT: μ=2.88, σ=5.76).

Discussion: CAM practices vary across and within disciplines in ways that could significantly impact both public health research and practice. Development of practice-based public health programs must be mindful of the heterogeneity of CAM practices in order to create appropriate interventions and implementation plans.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify three aspects of CAM practice organization to be considered in public health research and program design. List at least two strategies to address challenges in program/research planning and implementation in the CAM practice context.

Keyword(s): Practice-Based Research, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on community based training for tobacco cessation as well as behavioral and pharmacotherapeutic treatments for tobacco cessation. Scholarly interests include integrative medicine, comparative effectiveness research, and community based public health intervention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.